Mirkka Lappalainen (ed.), Five Centuries of Violence in Finland and the Baltic Area
Mirkka Lappalainen (ed.), Five Centuries of Violence in Finland and the Baltic Area (Publications of the History of Criminality Research Project), Hakapaino, Helsinki, 1998, 275 p., ISBN 951 715 2795.
1This book is a kind of interim report on a project which is still going on and for which Heikki Ylikangas has obtained considerable funding. More publications are to appear, hopefully also in English translation. This one consists of three separate essays, the first by Ylikangas himself. He links up with the international discussion on the declining trend of violence. According to him, the level of violent crime in Finland dropped already in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, but this conclusion is derived from prosecuted cases, not from homicide rates based on body inspections. There is useful information on reconciliation settlements, which, although officially illegal, persisted into the seventeenth century. Then the process is analyzed by which the state and its judicial machinery took over the control of violence.
2The subject of second essay, by Karonen on Sweden between 1540 and 1700, is similar to the first. It builds upon earlier work by Eva Österberg, Johan Söderberg and Arne Jarrick, while also being critical of them. Here, too, the theme is decline of violence, efforts by state and church to control it, the role of communities and their concept of honor and the question to what extent we can speak of a 'civilizing process 'in Elias' sense. Here too, there are no homicide rates based on body inspection reports.
3The third essay is quite different, taking us to the contemporary period. Lehti discusses homicide in Estonia between 1970 and 1996. His sources are crimes recorded by the police as well as statistics of the causes of death. The dissolution of the Soviet Union looms large. For example, homicide rates have moved up in Estonia from about 7 in 1989 to over 25 in 1994 (causes of death statistics), whereafter there was a modest decline. In Europe, in the twentieth century, there were three 'homicide zones' and Estonia has now moved from the Central to the Eastern zone. The analysis further focuses on factors such as regional and ethnic differences. Lehti concludes that the recent rise in violence is related to the rise in organized crime, which is caused in its turn by the fact that local bosses have to rely on their own resources whereas formerly they exploited the corrupt state machinery.
Pour citer cet article
Pieter Spierenburg, « Mirkka Lappalainen (ed.), Five Centuries of Violence in Finland and the Baltic Area », Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies, Vol. 3, n°2 | 1999, 118.
Pieter Spierenburg, « Mirkka Lappalainen (ed.), Five Centuries of Violence in Finland and the Baltic Area », Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies [En ligne], Vol. 3, n°2 | 1999, mis en ligne le 03 avril 2009, consulté le 30 mars 2017. URL : http://chs.revues.org/922Haut de page
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